There are some popular images related with forensic psychologist – criminal profilers trying to track terrorists and those from movies who bond with serial killers to learn how they work. But in real life these psychologists are part of the modern criminal justice system where they are needed for evaluating mental health of individuals charged with crime.
Find out what are the functions of these professionals in the legal system.
Forensic psychologists are the ones who are asked to provide their professional evaluation as to whether a suspect is capable of standing trial. They can also make recommendations about the sentencing of an offender.
They will regularly interact with judges and lawyers. They are also required for offering expert testimony in criminal and civil proceedings.
Forensic psychologists at fpamed are called on for providing a wide range of functions:
- Treatment recommendations
- Sentencing recommendations
- Information about mitigating factor
- Evaluating future risk
- Evaluating witness credibility
- Working in different ways with the police department
- Working with almost any party
- Even in the selection of jury sometimes
Conventional psychological tests and procedures may not be sufficient to forensic situations. It is required to evaluate consistency of factual information from different sources. The job of forensic psychologists is to determine the underlying source on which information from offenders and defenders could be based. While forensic psychologists may evaluate performance validity and response bias, ‘treating’ psychologists don’t do so.
The court may also appoint forensic psychologists for evaluating the sanity or state of mind of the defendant. Such defendants are believed by the judge, public defender or prosecutor to be impaired when they committed the offense.
Forensic Psychologists as Trial Consultants
These professionals may often be part of trial consulting. In such cases where forensic psychologists are part of the legal system, they can be called by different names like:
- Jury consultants
- Trial consultants
- Litigation consultants
In such situations they work as social scientists who are working with legal professionals like trial lawyers for helping with various functions like:
- Case preparation
- Developing case strategy
- Selecting jury
- Witness preparation
Such forensic psychologists focus more on research. They are also regularly attending seminars and events targeted on improving trial presentation and jury selection skills.
These are some of the most important functions of forensic psychologist that make them such important professionals in the legal field.